Government halts plan for Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary

Sir John Key’s dream of a vast ocean sanctuary around the Kermadec Islands has finally died, with work on legislation scrapped by the coalition government.

The proposal was announced in 2015 by the then-prime minister to great international fanfare but quickly ran into opposition. A backlash from fishing companies and iwi bodies saw it put on ice and ongoing opposition from the Māori Party and New Zealand First also prevented progress.

In a statement on Thursday, Fisheries Minister and NZ First MP Shane Jones said all work on the proposal would be stopped and the legislation removed from Parliament’s to-do list.

View into Denham Bay on New Zealand's Kermadec Islands.

“The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill would have created a 620,000sqkm economic no-go zone,” Jones said.

“Making 15 percent of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone a no-go area for Kiwis making their living from the sea, including iwi who received the Kermadecs fishing quota in a 1992 Treaty of Waitangi settlement, makes absolutely no sense.”

Jones said the coalition government was focused on driving export-led growth by making the most of New Zealand’s natural resources.

“The current marine reserve around the Kermadec Islands extends 12 nautical miles from the shores of the various islands. This area is ample to preserve the unique environment of the marine life that inhabits the region.”

Environment Minister Penny Simmonds said current commercial activities around the Kermadec Islands posed a limited risk due to the existing regulations and protections.

“I am confident that the Kermadec Islands, which already have in place a protected marine environment, will continue to flourish without the further expansion of the reserve.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button